Documents About Controversial Tahiti Leader ‘Destroyed’

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Pouvanaa a Oopa records reportedly destroyed recently

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 5, 2012) – French Polynesia’s leading historian has revealed that the French authorities have destroyed archived classified documents about the controversial late pro-independence leader Pouvanaa a Oopa.

This comes nine months after Nicolas Sarkozy gave a special televised pre-election address to Tahiti, saying the files would be opened to allow for a possible re-trial.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"After a controversial trial for allegedly leading unrest, Pouvanaa a Oopa was exiled to France in 1958, but a decade later he was pardoned and he became a Senator. The historian tasked by the French Polynesian assembly to research his treatment, Jean-Marc Regnault, says relevant records were destroyed in recent times. He has told a local newspaper that his preliminary findings point to two plots against Pouvanaa a Oopa. Mr. Regnault says he found that the French state viewed Pouvanaa as a communist and the local elite feared for its privileges. Today a statue in his honor is in front of the territorial assembly and a key street in Papeete has been named after him."

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